Friday, June 27, 2008

Good grief!

The third day of the funeral is over. I think I've shaken about a million hands, and been kissed by that many tear stained, sweaty faces. Somewhere in the process I acquired an eye infection. I hope that is all I got.

The first day was horrible as expected. Lots of screaming, crying, fainting, hair pulling, collapsing women, all getting carried away, while the religious women ran around trying to get the screamers to stop screaming. They made just as much noise and commotion as the screamers. I sat and weeped quietly in my chair. Aren't you supposed to die quietly in your sleep after you've reached old age and lived a full life? Unfortunately that doesn't happen all the time, so when that ideal doesn't pan out it's almost unbearable.

Libyan funerals go on for a full three days. People come to pay their respects with most of them coming at meal times so that the family is stuck feeding them all. A huge amount of money is spent on this. Everyone complains that it's a stupid custom but they continue it none the less.

The first day is the most stressful. The men take the deceased to the cemetery for burial while the women wait at the house for their return from the cemetery. Most of the screaming and carrying on by the women stops soon after the men leave for the cemetery.

The following two days are mostly a free-for-all gabfest with hours of sitting around with nothing to do but gossip. This is when I get a bit fed up with all this and start wishing I were home, or anyplace else for that matter.

And there is always DRAMA (in big huge capital letters!). Women who refuse to eat or drink (because they are so overcome with grief) fall faint and have to be taken to the hospital and put on IVs to sustain them. At least one person will fall and break their arm or leg, or require stitches. And someone will forget where they put something; one of their kids perhaps, or their keys, or mobile phone. Shoes get lost at every funeral; I personally have gone home barefoot on two occasions. And it goes without saying - funerals are host to major bigtime gossip.

I've finished the three days. It's time to get on with my life. I am more than ready!


  1. Oh my goodness, if I did not know better I would think this was a Jerry Springer moment. Good grief. Well as you know how many do it in the States, guests bring the family food in their time of sadness.......not for the grieving to be cooking and feeding the guests. It sounds like going to one of these events you be entertaining at first for the mere experience of it, but then after that it would seem almost more pitiful than fun due to all the DRAMA.

  2. I don’t know why you always complaining whether it was a wedding or a funeral, you don’t have to be there for all these three days ..just show your face and go or don’t bother to go in the first place, secondly I know that most these occasions either the sad or the happy ones.. are mostly for feeding people and some gossips, but I think funeral in the US or Europe not much different then that and booze and bitching about everyone.

    I am really surprised that they didn’t have your telephone line disconnected or your page blocked as a result from all the negative stuff that you spread about the host country “Libya” . I could see that day coming soon! Respect .. have a nice day .

    Libyan abroad

  3. anonymous...

    I don't know much about funerals in European countries, but I do know that in the US they are not at all like Libyan funerals. People come and pay their respects at funeral homes, some kind of religious ceremony is usual performed - America is a diverse place with many different religions. As a matter of fact I have been to many different kinds of funeral services in America. All of them were somber occasions with people quietly paying their respects. I never heard anyone scream or wail or saw anyone throwing themselves on the floor and fainting.

    After the services most neighbours and friends will go to the house bringing a dish of food for the mourning family so that they are not troubled by cooking during their sad period of grief.

    I am just describing a Libyan funeral... like it or not... every single one of them that I have been to in Libya has been the same... and there have been lots over the nearly twenty years I have been here.... sigh... good grief! I'm not being negative - I'm being honest.

  4. Sorry to hear about your loss - sounds like funerals there are similar to funerals here.

    I cannot bear the whole mourning thing here - so much to the point that going to funerals makes me physically ill - even before I've gone to it.

    As horrible as this sounds, I'm happy it's over for you. :(

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your family's loss. Many of the Libyan funerals I have attended have been similar -- as if there is a competition among the women to show more outrageous acts of grief than the next. One thing I do respect, however, is how Libyans show their constant support to the grieving family in their time of need -- they are there as shoulders to cry on, willing to babysit, etc.

    A question for you: in Libya, is the grieving period just for 3 days? In some Arab countries, I understand that it is for 40 days, where family members won't host occassions, or attend parties, etc.

  6. Allah Yr7em the person who died, and may allah sabir the family and loved ones, i think that aloooot of araab culture as a general is wrong, they hve gone far from the islamic traditions and got confussed of which is which..some of who i dnt blame (older generation who r uneducated) as well as the young narrow minded and even to a point nieve ppl to who dnt use the resources they have to find the truth bout wat they shud be doing.. apart from that and bk to ur post, i just wanted to say u cud of restrayed from sayin u hated it glad wanted to be home, and about teary sweaty ppls u had to salam at lol. simply cos u cud have saved ur ajer ;) i personally think all more and more libyans r learning SLOWLY, like neighbours bring the food and help out and yes money is being spent wen they cud be spent on charity for the person who passed away, but sometimes ppl strangers help out just as much. its a waste yes but 3 days is the usual.. but the food wise its dates and milk thats wat it shud be, may allah ahve mercy on the ppl who have passed away and the ppl still living in this world


Guidelines for submitting comments

You can rant, you can rave, you can question. I ask only that you are thoughtful about what you write.

Comments are reviewed by me before publication. I don’t edit comments, but I do reserve the right to delete comments that violate my guidelines.

These are the kinds of comments that I think are not appropriate for publication:

- Defamatory or libelous remarks
- Abusive, harassing, or threatening language
- Obscene, vulgar, or profane language
- Racially, ethnically or religiously offensive words
- Illegal or encourages criminal acts
- Known to be inaccurate or contains a false attribution
- Infringes copyrights, trademarks, publicity or any other rights of others
- Impersonates anyone (actual or fictitious)
- Off-topic or spam
- Solicits funds, goods or services, or advertises

Please submit comments in English.

Thank you

My Link List